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getting DS to sleep in cot

(14 Posts)
cabbageleaf Tue 26-May-15 09:19:38

My DS is 5.5 months old, ebf and was a clusterfeeder from about 2 weeks old. We ended up co-sleeping, which we hadn't planned, because I couldn't face sitting up till 1 am every night waiting for him to finish feeding. I'd go to bed at 11 pm, he'd feed, I'd drop off to sleep and wake at around 2am to find he was fast asleep. I tried moving him to his cot the first few nights but he'd wake and fuss, so I gave that up pretty soon. He stopped clusterfeeding when he was 3 months old, but seeing as we were enjoying sharing our bed with him we decided to go on co-sleeping. When he was 4.5 months old he started waking every two hours, in the beginning I thought it must be a growth spurt, but when he kept on doing this for two weeks I decided it was time for him to move to his cot. The problem is that our bedtime routine focuses on bf as that is the only thing that always sends him off to sleep. When I try and move him to the cot he wakes and usually can't go back to sleep, he insists on turning onto his tummy which wakes him up completely. He can self-settle because he doesn't need help going to sleep during the day, and he has gone back to sleep on rare occasions during the night too. I would like to get him to go to sleep in his cot but have no idea how to set about it - bf him sitting up and then moving him to his cot awake has been a total failure, he gets more and more anxious until he starts screaming hysterically after an hour. I don't want him to cry himself to sleep, even when I am sitting next to him and stroking him, because I think he is still too small for that. Any suggestions??

FATEdestiny Tue 26-May-15 12:31:15

The first 3 or 4 months are 'easy' in terms of sleep. Newborn babies this age are basically designed just to feed and sleep and so as long as you have feeding sorted, sleeping is relatively easy to come by.

Problems often start somewhere around 4 months, when a baby who was previously sleeping OK suddenly isn't. This is because baby is no longer a newborn who sleeps readily. Suddenly you and baby have to start working and doing things to establish sleep triggers (if they are not already established).

Babies don't have the emotional capacity to self-settle like an adult would (ie tired, lie down, close eyes, sleep), they need something to use as a comfort trigger to sleep.

What happens for daytime naps? Where is the breastfeed in relation to nap (separate from sleep, before sleep, when waking?)

How long and how often are daytime naps?

What do you do for the nighttime wake ups? Do you feed?

How do you feel about a dummy for comfort sucking?

Also - have your tried a bedside cot? Take one side off your cot and butt it up to your bed. It allows for slightly easier scooting baby back into the cot, rather than lifting baby.

cabbageleaf Tue 26-May-15 17:19:02

Hi FATEdestiny, thank you for your reply.
DS's daytime naps are still short, 30 mins max., and frequent, normally 3 a day. For his morning nap, he usually starts signalling tiredness while playing, I put him in the baby chair and he goes to sleep within 10 mins., without rocking. He has a feed when he wakes up. The second nap is usually when we're out of the house and he's in the baby carrier, the third nap is in my arms during his late afternoon feed. I have been putting him in his cot for his morning and late afternoon nap for a week now, but he doesn't sleep: eg this morning, I left him in his cot for 45 mins, stroking him and sh-ing, he was wide awake the moment his head touched the mattress. I then took him out, placed him in the baby chair and he was out like a light....

He has never wanted a dummy, I have tried three different types but he gagged and chewed all of them. He sucks his thumb sometimes but usually not to soothe himself, I don't know how to encourage that?

Initially, I fed him every time he woke up because I thought he needed it, then, when I realised he was not always hungry, I went to sleep in the living room and my DH soothed him. This worked fine and nighttime wake ups have became less frequent, but now that my DH is back at work I am responding to nighttime wake ups and he won't go back to sleep if I don't bf him.
We are using a bedside cot, but I haven't managed to get him in it without lifting him. Besides, even if I did, I would still have to lift him into it for his late afternoon nap, which is always connected to bf.

Writing this I realise I am totally confused and have no idea how to get him to go to sleep in his own bed. I could just say, let's keep co-sleeping for another month and then try again, but I am really worried about him sleeping in the baby chair, especially as his naps will be getting longer! I'd also like to involve DH more, who is excluded seeing as it all revolves around me bf DS.

FATEdestiny Tue 26-May-15 18:07:10

I don't think three half hour naps is enough at this age. For my children I'd be aiming for 3 to 4 hours of daytime naps at 5.5 months.

At around 5 months we transitioned from short frequent naps to longer naps. We moved from having six 30-45 minute naps (half hour sleep in every 2 hours through the day) to two 2 hour naps.

I wonder if your unsettled nights are because of over-tiredness through the daytime? More sleep promotes better sleep in babies. Poor or not enough sleep promotes worse sleep so the cycle continues.

Could you try lengthening her daytime naps? Get her back to sleep as soon as she wakes. Don't worry about the cot with this. If you can just get her sleeping more, she's likely to be more settled at night so sleep deeper.

FATEdestiny Tue 26-May-15 18:13:20

OH, and I would preserver with the dummy. It is definitely going to be worth it in the long term.

Happilymarried155 Wed 27-May-15 15:46:20

I agree that it is probably over tiredness. My little one is 4 months and has three naps a day, these are usually 45 min, 2 hours followed by another 2/3 hour nap in the afternoon. I think you probably need to work on getting him to sleep longer in the day x

cabbageleaf Wed 27-May-15 16:17:32

I was out this morning and baby slept 40 mins. in baby carrier. When he looked tired in the afternoon (not long after a feed), I put him in his cot, he tried to settle but got increasingly grumbly and started screaming after about 20 mins., so I bf him, he dropped off to sleep and I put him back to bed, he has now been sleeping for two hours! He never did that in the bouncy chair. So this is definitely an improvement. Let's see how tonight goes.

Clarella Wed 27-May-15 16:25:26

Mine was very cot allergic. I just went with the cosleeping then he insisted on going to bed in his own room around 20 mo. Even nursery struggled with cot and he clearly indicated he preferred slow bed they used for older children.

Next time I will put a double mattress on floor in baby's room and co sleep, gradually retreating as I find he/she sleeps better.

Putting him down for naps (bf to sleep) on a single mattress in his room from around 18 months helped. At first he needed me to stay there (I'd rest or sleep) then slowly got better.

For a loooong time though he napped best in his pushchair pram (out n about), as felt safe. Some people have therefore found a sleepy head or similar thing very useful for the bed thing.

We had a bedside cot, he was even allergic to that!

He now sleeps till about 3 am in his own bed then in with me. I'm considering night weaning as back teeth are causing early morning cluster feeding. Then again he might get up at 5 shock ...

cabbageleaf Thu 28-May-15 14:07:41

Clarella, did you put your mattresses on the floor when he started crawling? One reason I want him to be able to go to sleep in his cot is because I am worried he will fall out of our bed once he starts crawling, seeing as we usually get up before he is awake.
I am glad to know mine isn't the only baby that won't even accept a bedside cot.
I stupidly insisted on moving him into his cot yesterday evening when he'd fallen asleep during bf, and of course he woke up and it took him more than an hour to get back to sleep. I think I will just leave it for the time being, focus on getting him to sleep more during the day and try moving him to the cot in a few weeks' time.

Clarella Thu 28-May-15 14:24:35

I used a bed guard on one side (baby dan, about 20 quid from john Lewis - really handy as could take away with us) and the bedside 'cot' the other (aka book/muslin/toy store).

He just didn't feel safe unless he was near me, I don't think for a long time it's been about the milk at all. He'd have been the same if I night weaned. Velcro baby.

But - SUCH a confident little thing now, and as he got better at turning himself etc he slept longer and was happier to be left. I think naps came before nighttime, but he was Velcro until he was around 18 months, 20 months made HIS choice to go to bed in his room (of course expecting me to be there!) now if he wakes he collects his toys and sippy cup and turns up in our bed.

Oddly he never tried to crawl off our bed, and not at night either. He still will sometimes just sit up crying. I sort of feel as he never had bars to escape from he didn't bother trying?! I started putting him on the mattress on the floor in his room for naps and then when he chose to sleep there put up my old childs bed/ bunk bed with the bed guard.

Next baby I would put a double on the floor in their room, you could put stair gate on the door but we just made sure the one on the stairs was always shut. As I say, he only ever wanted to know where I was, and just cried till I came. But they're all different.

Clarella Thu 28-May-15 14:27:16

I tried putting him in a cot in his own room at 7 mo, he did even start going to sleep in it without bf, but would wake every half hour or hour until I took him in with me, where he lasted longer. It got so bloody tiring I just though sod this it's only while he's tiny. And he proved me right.

It's only now that I feel he's capable of comprehending more nudging from me towards sleeping on his own for longer, but again I know many toddlers who miss their parents at night.

cabbageleaf Fri 29-May-15 17:13:49

Clarella, thank you for your advice, very much appreciated!

ODog Fri 29-May-15 20:30:29

My DS acted like there were daggers in his Moses basket/cot for months, we kept trying it for naps and nighttime but not pushing it (so if he wasn't sleeping after 5/10mins we reverted to what we knew worked, which for us was cosleeping at night or sleeping on me/in sling during the day). We also never left him to cry and always picked him up/comforted him so he didn't associated his cot with a scary/upsetting experience. Eventually he just got it, I think around 7/8 months and now has both naps for an hour each in his cot and will sleep most nights in his cot most/all of the night. He was just ready I guess, they all get there eventually. This way won't be for everyone and was frustrating at times but it's what we did and looking back it seems like such a short time, although it didn't at the time.

Clarella Fri 29-May-15 21:20:51

I must say, as Odog points out, I have wondered if we tried too many times to try to encourage independence too early which in the end made him more jumpy and clingy iykwim.

I remember trying so hard to get napping in his cot, he'd wake every 15 mins or less and I just think it made him more anxious in the long run.

A colleague did once say "divnt mind if they're sleepin on your heed as long as they're sleepin!!!"

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